Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 13

When I get into discussions about integrating technology effectively in the classroom, I usually pause. I fear many schools have a long journey ahead of them, because they have yet to adopt effective teaching practices, such as facilitation and cooperative learning. These are just a few. When I walk into most universities, lecturing is what I see. When I walk into public schools, lecturing is what I see. I also see many unmotivated students and read about the thousands of students who drop out every year and do not receive a diploma or about the struggle most universities have with freshman retention. I often think about students without a high school or college diploma and the struggles they bare. The reality is that many will raise children in poverty who will repeat the cycle. However, educators can do something about this. They can motivate their students to learn by giving them ownership of their learning.

  • What if we took all the bookmarked web 2.0 tools we’ve been meaning to learn and let each student pick one to teach the class?
  • What if we persuaded our principals to have one day  dedicated to throwing out the lectures and book work?
  • What if we walked into our classes on the first day, assigned some learning objectives to each student, and asked them to design that part of the curriculum with engaging lessons?
  • What if we told every student, please use your cell phones during this test, because your classmates are your lifelines?
  • What if we asked the students what they wanted to learn about the subject and how they wanted to learn the material?
  • What if we gave students choices on how they would be tested?

I do not remember graduating from college and thinking I had all the answers now let me share them with my students. I think the best educators motivate students to experiment, research, and reflect. I think these educators are passionate about learning and continue to learn themselves. That is why my long-term goal is to provide more opportunities for my students to teach me, especially the ones that are labeled “challenging” by others. I want my students to have more control of the curriculum than I do. I believe if the student has more ownership of their learning they are motivated to be lifelong learners. I want my students to use what they learn and one way is by having them teach others what they learned. I do facilitate in the classroom like probably many of you do, but I want to take this further. What do you think?

Challenge:

Allow your students to have complete control over one class period. Have them choose the material and the way they want to present the material. Just trust them and see what they create.

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If you are new to the 30 day Goal challenge, then you may want to read this post with more details!

This is goal 13 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post!

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Care to share your experiences with allowing your students to make decisions about their learning?

Photo above by Wfryer on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0